Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Trinity: Present at Every Mass

As we celebrate the great feast of the Trinity this weekend, it's good to review just how the Trinity is present at every Mass through the year. That presence is integral to the act of celebrating Mass. It is mysteriously  multi-faceted and continually shifting in focus.  

Gathered into one voice by the Holy Spirit, the Assembly, led by the priest celebrant, prays the entire Mass through the Son to the glory and praise of the Father. The clues are in the prayers of the Roman Missal.

We sing the Gloria to the almighty Father, the only begotten Son, with the Holy Spirit in the glory of the Father. The formula which ends the Collect and other orations "..through our Lord Jesus Christ our Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever" pretty much defines the nature of the Trinity.

Christ the Word, and the Holy Spirit, the active active agent of God's Word and will for the hearers, are active during the Liturgy of the Word, according to the Introduction to the Lectionary, challenging those who hear to be open to the will of the Father.  We hear the Old Testament narratives of the Father's history with his people, respond, using psalms written in praise and supplication to the Father, followed by the New Testament letters interpreting the meaning of Christ and his teachings. We then hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ and respond in praise to him. The homily should help us sort out what God is saying to us in our time, and it, too, is influenced by the Spirit.

As the bread and wine are offered to the Father, the priest calls the Spirit upon them to change them into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. The Eucharistic Prayer is offered to the glory of the Father through, with and in Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. That prayer is punctuated by the Sanctus, sung to the Father ("Lord, God of Hosts"), acknowledging and praising his sending of his Son - "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord" - the words of the heavenly host of angels and saints gathered at the heavenly banquet..

The faithful say Amen, pray to Christ the Lamb and receive the Eucharist assenting to becoming more like Jesus. They are sent forth in his  name, following his Cross into the world, to glorify him with their lives.

In short, the language and movements of every Mass are permeated with the dynamic presence of the Triune God. We celebrate that in particular this Sunday, but it is by no means the only time we should be aware of the presence of the Three-in-One God.

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